Under 13 Season Review - by Jamie Akers, U13 Coach
Taking over the coaching of a team that has been together for a long time is a daunting task at the best of times, trying to fill the shoes of coaches who have done so much with that team is terrifying. Knowing only a couple of the team members and seeing them play from a distance I knew that I had a good group to work with. I soon found that our team manager was to be Fiona - it doesn't get any better than that, does it? Actually it did get better than that: Dale stepped in to complete the coaching team.
Pre-season was an interesting time in line with the old Oriental curse, "May you live in interesting times". Representative players coming off a tour of Malaysia and "Gold" training, found themselves training side by side with players who had maybe seen a game of Rugby League on television at some stage. The sizes ranged from some massive units to a couple of kids that somehow avoid going to the Under 9's with a couple of every size in between. Pre-season was a string of  "Dude, triple in size and you might make it as a second rower, you are NOT a prop - I don't care that you played there in Under 7's" and "Mate, there is no way you are going fullback, grab your mate sitting on the wing and go back to being props..."
Throughout the season we gelled as a team, dominating the competition from the outset, several players stood out early and the confidence they brought to the team allowed their teammates to flourish, some of our newer players have excelled due primarily to the support of our older players. One game stands out in my mind this year as defining this year's U13's - our loss to Swampdogs early in the season taught us the pitfalls of not respecting the opposition, fortunately the boys took it on the chin and learned from the experience. Since that one-off, the team has not gone into any game without a wary respect for the other teams' abilities.
This season has been positive in many ways, personal and team development in addition to strong friendships formed on and off the field. A number of the boys made the decision to try out for the NT side, after a lengthy training and trial process some were selected and others unfortunately were overlooked this time around - I would like to encourage everyone who is interested to back themselves and give it a go next year, it is well worth the effort. Next year most of the U13's are moving on to join the U15's leaving a nearly new look team, I hope that as they move on they remember the first rule of Rugby: Have Fun!
Next year the Under 13's will be filled by the rising stars from the U11's... how exciting!!